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October 27, 2023

News diary 30 October–5 November: Lee Cain and Dominic Cummings at Covid inquiry, AI summit at Bletchley Park

A look ahead at the key events leading the news agenda next week, from the team at Foresight News.

By Foresight News

A look ahead at the key events leading the news agenda next week, from the team at Foresight News.

Leading the week

Public interest in the ongoing Covid-19 inquiry will ramp up next week as high-profile figures from Boris Johnson’s government are set to give evidence, beginning on Monday (October 30) with Johnson’s former PPS Martin ‘Party Marty’ Reynolds, whose emails lay at the centre of the Partygate scandal. Former No.10 director of communications Lee Cain, who has been publicly critical of Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s accounts of the pandemic, follows that afternoon. On Tuesday (October 31), controversial former No.10 chief strategist Dominic Cummings appears for what’s likely to be a blockbuster session on the inner workings of the Johnson government at the very height of the pandemic in early 2020. To round off the week, former ethics chief Helen MacNamara – who was fined by Met Police over the Downing Street parties – appears on Wednesday (November 1), followed on Thursday (November 2) by former NHS England CEO Simon Stevens, who may face questions on his apparent opposition to the government’s ‘Protect the NHS’ slogan.

The Home Office is heading to the courts to once again defend a controversial plan for asylum seekers. Both Braintree District and West Lindsey District Councils are at the High Court on Tuesday and Wednesday (October 31–November 1) to challenge Suella Braverman’s plans for migrant camps at former RAF bases at Wethersfield and Scampton. The councils argue that neither site is suitable to house thousands of migrants and accuse the Home Office of breaching planning regulations. With Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s pledge to end the use of 50 asylum seeker hotels and a Supreme Court judgment on the government’s Rwanda scheme due in the coming weeks, more space will need to be found in the short term. Should the court reject the councils’ applications, the Home Office could still face another court battle over its asylum seeker camps. Charity Care4Calais has given Sunak until November 11 to respond to a pre-action letter, describing the Wethersfield camp as a detention centre, and demanding that all asylum seekers are moved out of it immediately.

Some of the leading lights of the tech world are due in town as the UK hosts the Global Summit on Artificial Intelligence at Bletchley Park on Wednesday and Thursday (November 1-2). Rishi Sunak’s hopes of using the summit to tout the UK as a global leader in AI safety regulation have been somewhat undermined in the lead-up to the event by suggestions that high-profile European counterparts may stay away. At the same time, there’s reported unrest among certain Conservative MPs at the prospect of a Chinese presence at the conference. However, an intervention on AI systems released early this week by some of the biggest names in the game will have been welcomed in Downing Street, while Sunak himself set the groundwork for the summit with a speech yesterday in which he announced the creation of a safety body to be based in the UK. The conference will be a welcome return to safe territory for the techy PM, though it remains to be seen whether he can convince fellow leaders to commit to a joint statement and make a real success of the event.

The UK Monetary Policy Committee announces its latest interest rate decision on Thursday (November 2), with Bank of England policymakers expected to follow counterparts in Europe and the US by keeping the rate on hold. Recent sluggish growth and the weak jobs numbers in this week’s labour market release mean the UK bank rate is likely to remain at 5.25% after September’s decision brought an end to 14 consecutive increases – though the ONS decision to change its methodology for the latest statistics could influence the thinking of some on the MPC. Whatever the decision next week, the impact of stubborn inflation, slow growth and reduced hiring will continue to raise concerns over the prospect of a recession as we enter the final months of 2023.

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Looking abroad

The crisis in the Middle East looks set to dominate the international agenda again next week, as frantic negotiations to secure a humanitarian pause to get aid into Gaza coincide with the most recent signs that an Israeli ground operation could still come at any moment. This week’s overnight raids came despite suggestions that the US is pushing Netanyahu to delay an invasion to buy more time to secure the release of hostages being held by Hamas and prepare for the regional implications of such an operation.

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King Charles and Queen Camilla undertake their third state visit this year with a trip to Kenya from Tuesday (October 31) to Friday (November 3) that comes at the invitation of President William Ruto as the country prepares to mark 60 years of independence. This latest visit is likely to see the royals in a reflective mood after a pair of more celebratory trips to Germany and France earlier this year. Ahead of the monarch’s arrival, Mau Mau veterans have campaigned for an apology for the British government’s response to the 1952 rebellion. The royals are due to acknowledge ‘the more painful aspects of the UK and Kenya’s shared history’ during the visit, with Charles set to spend time ‘deepen[ing] his understanding’ of Kenyans’ suffering during the Emergency period. This understanding is likely to be reflected more in private during the Royals’ engagements than in any public apology, though the King is due to lay a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknown Warrior at Uhuru Gardens during the visit.

Also look out for:

October 30

  • UN Security Council briefed on refugees
  • Apple launch event
  • Sentencing of teen convicted of 22 counts of rape
  • International Seabed Authority session begins
  • UN General Assembly discusses ICC report
  • ISS astronauts spacewalk
  • Ballon d’Or winner announced

October 31

  • New rules on bankers’ bonuses take effect
  • NCA director delivers RUSI Annual Security Lecture
  • Sentencing begins for men convicted of abusing girls in Rochdale
  • Antony Blinken and Lloyd Austin appear at Senate hearing on the National Security Supplemental Request
  • Norway hosts Nordic Council meeting
  • Investigation into election integrity in Canada due to be completed
  • UNGA discusses Human Rights Council report
  • Soft deadline to reach agreement in US-EU steel and aluminium trade disputes
  • Carabao Cup fourth round ties

November 1

  • Kamala Harris speech in London on AI
  • US Federal Reserve interest rate decision
  • China assumes presidency of UN Security Council
  • Deadline for ‘unauthorised’ Afghans to leave Pakistan
  • Chris Whitty addresses King’s Fund annual conference
  • Chatham House Climate Change Conference

November 2

  • Rishi Sunak leads AI risks discussion at Global Summit
  • Bank of England Monetary Policy Report
  • Sadiq Khan addresses The London Conference
  • Rescheduled arraignment for Tupac Shakur murder suspect Duane ‘Keffe D’ Davis
  • Virgin Galactic launches fifth commercial spaceflight
  • UNEP Adaptation Gap Report
  • David Hockney exhibition opens at National Portrait Gallery

November 3

  • Filippo Grandi delivers Kofi Annan Geneva Peace Address
  • Sentencing of teen who shared bomb-making instructions in terror group
  • Court hearing for man accused of Holly Willoughby ‘kidnap’ plot
  • Trial begins for Conservative MP Bob Stewart on public order offence
  • Cyril Ramaphosa hosts AGOA Forum
  • Andrew Tate due in court
  • Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony

November 4

  • Anthony Albanese begins China visit
  • Scottish Lib Dem autumn conference opens
  • England v Australia at Cricket World Cup
  • FA Cup first round

November 5

  • Guy Fawkes Day (Bonfire Night)
  • Moldova holds local elections
  • Brazilian Grand Prix
  • One year until US presidential election

Statistics, reports and results:

October 30

  • Bank of England money and credit report
  • CBI growth indicator
  • OECD Agricultural Policy Monitoring and Evaluation report
  • Results from: HSBC, Panasonic, McDonald’s

October 31

  • CPJ publishes Global Impunity Index
  • UNEP progress report on plastics economy
  • ONS Blue Book and Pink Book published
  • BRC-Nielsen Shop Price Index
  • Flash EU and euro area Q3 GDP
  • Euro area inflation
  • Results from: BP, Samsung, BASF, ABInBev, Stellantis, Eli Lilly, Pfizer

November 1

  • Employee earnings in the UK
  • UK manufacturing PMI
  • Scottish GDP final estimate
  • Centre for Progressive Policy report on UK public finances
  • Results from: PayPal, GlaxoSmithKline, Mondelez, Hugo Boss, Kraft Heinz

November 2

  • WMO report on the state of climate services for health
  • Results from: Apple, Shell, Sainsbury’s, Entain, Lufthansa, Starbucks, ING Group, Baxter International, ConocoPhillips

November 3

  • US and EU employment statistics
  • BRC footfall monitor
  • UK services PMI
  • FAO Food Price Index
  • Results from: Next, Swiss Re, Societe Generale, Heidelberg Cement, AP Moeller-Maersk, BMW

Anniversaries and awareness days:

October 30

  • National Meals on Wheels Week (to November 3)

October 31

  • Halloween
  • Mexico marks Dia de Muertos (Day of the Dead)

November 1

  • All Saints’ Day
  • World Vegan Day
  • International Stress Awareness Day
  • World Ballet Day
  • Movember begins
  • National Novel Writing Month begins

November 2

  • London Poppy Day

November 3

  • Jupiter at closest point to Earth

November 4

  • Edenbridge and Lewes Bonfire Nights

November 5

  • Tsunami Awareness Day

The news diary is provided in association with Foresight News.

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Select and enter your email address Weekly insight into the big strategic issues affecting the future of the news industry. Essential reading for media leaders every Thursday. Your morning brew of news about the world of news from Press Gazette and elsewhere in the media. Sent at around 10am UK time. Our weekly does of strategic insight about the future of news media aimed at US readers. A fortnightly update from the front-line of news and advertising. Aimed at marketers and those involved in the advertising industry.
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